To Intervene or Not to Intervene, That is the Question! (part 2)
Positive and joyful experiences can trigger desire for learning but much more is needed.
If you missed part 1 you can read it here.
From celebrating learning to intertwining it with megatrends
Quite recently, under the umbrella of the project on the implementation of the European Agenda for Adult Learning in Slovenia (EAAL project), we organized forums on the future of adult learning with regard to six major socio-economic trends. These are migrations and the challenge of multiculturalism; digital transformation of society; green transition; the future of work and skills; ageing population and the challenge of intergenerational coexistence; democratic citizenship and inclusion of vulnerable groups.
Presentations and debates confirmed that, in a way, we all are affected by these grave issues and as such – vulnerable. Do we dare to claim that the whole world is in distress?
An overall conclusion shaped at these forums was that adult or rather lifelong learning can and should be one of the most important driving forces for a better tomorrow and the agent for thorough change – at personal and community level. Of course, this is clear to many of us (the convinced ones) but there are still far too few of us. Outreach, awareness raising and encouragement therefore remain our important tasks. The forums also taught us that the above topics are intertwined and cannot be addressed in isolation. The intertwining is horizontal (all sectors: education, economy, culture, agriculture, environmental protection, etc.) and vertical (‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approach). Some things – especially fundamental values – are eternal, so deviating from them has never brought anything good. However, they need to be enriched with flexibility and agility.
Throughout my personal and working experiences, I have come to the conclusion that to change another person thoroughly is next to mission impossible! The desire for change has to come from within – only then will it trigger the necessary inner resources to overcome inner and outer obstacles. Of course, it will be helpful to have an understanding and supportive surrounding, and if possible – role models who have gone through similar ordeal and have succeeded. The same is probably true for trying to bring societies to a higher level of awareness and behavioural patterns.
For all of us, working in these (humanistic) areas and having been privileged in so many ways to be equipped for such work, it is an honour and great responsibility to not only react to distress but to be proactive, innovative and assuring – in order to serve for the benefit of the less fortunate.
And coming back to my initial question/answer, which has obviously defined my personal as well as working life: YES, intervene, assist, stimulate, encourage, support people. But act thought-fully, respect-fully, care-fully … always in line with the (expressed) needs.
I strongly believe that when we do something for others, we need to keep in mind that it bounces back to us in the same measure and manner. That is why it makes sense to work together, mutually – nothing for others without consulting them, taking them aboard of this noble endeavour and letting them assume full responsibility for their lives.